Month: December 2016

Paper Mountain

This is a ridiculous, grinding task, typical of the WWC. It’s 8pm on New Year’s Eve. I’ve managed to dispatch 17 items of paperwork today, and there are 47 items remaining.

I will kill this off over the next couple of days and I can’t wait to get it off my desk. Right now, though, I’m going to play video games for a couple of hours because time is getting on.

Me and my work ethic.

Bloody hell. I’ve just sat down to slog through some more of the WWC paperwork. I discovered 4 new items that I didn’t know about, so that brings the outstanding total back up to 64.

There’s another guy who is leaving the World’s Worst Company at the same time as me, that is to say, in 2 weeks. Because I am about to start a new batch of paperwork connected to a project that other people have worked on, I just loaded up a few examples of their stuff so I could get a feel for how much other people are writing on these forms. This guy has registered all his forms as complete but they have no content. There is a two-digit number but that’s all he’s written. It takes me up to 15 minutes to do one of these forms because I think about what I am writing. By the simple method of not writing anything, I reckon this guy’s got it down to 2.5 minutes per form, if not less than that.

Once again, I am bewildered at the things that go on in this organisation, I’ve never seen it before. Now what? I guess he has just declined to actually do the task because he is leaving and he doesn’t give a damn. I could do that, couldn’t I. Instead of ending my Xmas holiday five days early and going back to work. But I am not going to do that because I can’t bring myself to do that. I am a professional and I don’t let down our clients, who actually need this commentary I’m supplying. My entire 15 months with this job has been a repetitive experience of watching other people avoid work in innovative ways with my jaw on the ground. Staying in that organisation and successfully becoming part of it would have finished my career. That’s not how you do business, it’s just not. I had to remind myself of that on an almost daily basis.

Right, I’d better get on with it. This paperwork isn’t going to complete itself. I am finally out of the clutches of this desperate organisation at close of business on January 12th.

The 10th Day of Xmas: in which I resume work

It was a day of three parts, after the console gaming bonanza of the last several days.

Morning: Do not switch on the Playstation. Use the daylight to do some creative activities involving a collection of coloured pencils that I rarely have the chance to use. That was nice, it was satisfying. I did that until about 2pm.

Afternoon: Starting to get dark. Time for some Far Cry Primal on the Playstation.

Evening: I am starting to think that I should be more worried about the fact that I still have to do 78 items of World’s Worst Company paperwork – the items take up to 15 minutes each. So I do some work. I reduce the paper mountain from 78 items down to 60 items. I shall attempt to complete these 60 items over the next 3 days, then I will be ahead of schedule, where I like to be.

While I was organising my work, I looked at my diary for the weeks immediately preceding Xmas and I was both disturbed and amazed by the schedule I was managing to keep up. I’m really surprised I wasn’t more unhealthy.

The 9th Day of Xmas

I sent 1 work-related email.

I am having such a good time. My console gaming skills have improved massively. Today I have been in the frozen mountains of Far Cry Primal, playing a mammoth that is trying to overcome some rhinos. The rhinos may look innocent but they are fast and they have sharp tusks.

fcp-rhino

My plan for today was to make progress in Far Cry and then probably return to Dark Souls this evening but I’ve done so much console gaming over the last few days that I am really starting to feel it in my shoulders. I think I need to do something else now to give my body a rest. I don’t know what, as I have long since forgotten that I ever had any other interests. I think I will go for a shower and a change of pyjamas and see what’s what. Maybe put some lights on.

The 8th Day of Xmas: Holidaying like a professional.

Last week I remarked that the first day of holiday is always a bit weird because I am still in work mode. That takes a few days to evaporate.

I am happy to report that I have now fully mastered the art of being on holiday.

  • Get up at 1pm and don’t bother opening the curtains, it’ll be dark soon anyway.
  • Immediately switch on console.
  • Get coffee and Pot Noodle and bring to console.

I have sent messages to all the dating guys informing them that all future communications are cancelled as of now because I need to invest my time elsewhere due to urgent priorities.

I am glad I have a well-stocked fruit bowl. A couple of days ago I wondered if I’d eat all the fruit but now I see that I need that next to my Playstation and we are good to go for the next several hours.

Right, I must get back to it. I’m playing a little bit of ARK: Survival Evolved (2015) just in case I am missing anything really fantastic in the way of landscapes and dinosaur-taming, then I’ll probably go back to Far Cry Primal for a while, or for six months.

The 7th Day of Xmas: Gaming Review

That marked the half way point of the Xmas hols.

Dating. There was a date in the earlier part of the day but it was another non-starter, unfortunately. He was another case of social anxiety, I don’t need that, I haven’t got time to deliver therapy.

Dinner. I couldn’t be bothered to cook. I ate cheese & biscuits and then sponge pudding and then I went for a nap.

Movie. Nope. Didn’t do that either.

Gaming. So, what did I do today, I hear you ask. I gamed. It’s like Xmas was invented for gaming. Let’s review where we are up to.

Having been a PC gamer since the early 90s, I’m using this Xmas holiday to teach myself to use consoles. I’ve been practising every day and at the same time sampling a variety of recent games to see what’s out there. My console skills are improving quite fast. Since we last spoke about gaming, probably yesterday, I introduced myself to Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain (2015), Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag (2013) and Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture (2015). Right now it’s 3.30am on Day 8 of Xmas and I’m playing Far Cry Primal (2016) again, which we started on Day 1. I’ve been waiting to find something that excites me enough to spend lots of time with it over a few weeks or months. Here’s what I’m learning, other than which button to press to change weapons.

Dark Souls (the original version, 2011, which I started the other day) is a very atmospheric and intelligently-designed game with considerable artistic merit and I want to play it some more. Despite this, it looks like a gloomy, dystopian world and what I really want is a pleasant, soothing environment to play in. I like slaying dragons and such but I’m not mad keen on spending a lot of time exploring caves, dungeons and rotting, elaborate castles. I like to be outdoors in the sun. I like to be out on grassy plains or a mountain or a beach, hunting or just riding my horse around and exploring the map. For this reason, even though I can see it’s a bit soulless and corporate, my heart lifted when I played the opening stages of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag because it is set in the Caribbean and concerns 18th-century pirates, so it is beaches and glittering blue seas all the way. And ships. I can really get along with that, that’s my idea of a pleasant in-game environment.

Apparently another factor that’s important to me is that the game shouldn’t make excessive amounts of noise. I don’t need constant explosions and helicopters blowing up and suchlike. What I really like is when the sounds are those of my arrows whistling through the air. Far Cry Primal is making me very happy in that respect. It is peaceful and quiet. I am occasionally attacked by bears and hostile cavemen from rival tribes but most of the time I’m quietly stalking deer, goats, boar and suchlike, and going around lighting bonfires. I can play it at 3 in the morning without worrying about disturbing my neighbours.

The final thing that matters to me, after the visually pleasing environment and low levels of aggressive noise, is that the learning curve of the game should be appropriate. I need games that give me an easy start because I don’t know where any of the buttons are on the console. It’s all very well telling me ‘L1’ or ‘R3’ but I don’t always know where that is. So that’s why Dark Souls is quite difficult right now. It requires you to have at least minimal knowledge of how the hardware works. In contrast, Far Cry Primal has been pretty easy to learn how to use. I still suck quite badly at melee combat but my ranged hunting skills are improving fast. Also, there’s already a sense of progress within the game, I’ve managed to level up a little bit. Right, I shall make some more coffee and get back on it. Hooray for Xmas. I’ve waited all year for this.

“Open-world sandbox gameplay, bringing together massive beasts [and] breathtaking environments”, says Ubisoft. Right up my street.

Boxing Day

Dinner. I cooked Xmas dinner again and got it right this time. I have definitely gained weight over Xmas, like everyone does, and feel like the size of a house. Fortunately, I’m not too bloated as I’ve been eating a lot of vegetables and have not yet done any damage to the Xmas cake or Xmas pudding.

Movie. I watched Where To Invade Next by Michael Moore (2016), a typically lovely, sensitive and compassionate Moore film in which he goes to various countries to see what ideas he can take home to rescue the United States. He goes to Iceland to learn how women pulled the country out of the financial crisis. All the Icelandic banks collapsed in the crisis except for one which was started by two women, where the founding principle of the bank is ‘if we don’t understand it, we don’t sell it’. Common sense aboundeth. He meets female Icelandic business leaders and politicians and they are utterly glowing with common sense and community spirit. He goes to a tiny, unremarkable school in France where little children of six and seven years old are being served gourmet four-course meals for lunch and where lunchtime is regarded as a teaching opportunity. He goes to Slovenia to visit a university and is surprised to meet American students who are there because university education is free. In Italy he meets employers who give their staff 8 weeks of paid holiday every year and say things like ‘what’s the point of being richer, the important thing is human relationships’. In Norway he visits maximum security prisons where the philosophy is that being away from your family is quite enough punishment and the emphasis is on teaching the inmates to be good neighbours to each other, which you do by creating a civilised prison community and showing each other compassion. I became quite moist around the eyes. Britain did not feature on the list of Moore’s exemplary nations. By far the best film I’ve seen so far this Xmas, highly recommended.

where-to-invade-next-1

Dating. We haven’t struck gold yet. Yesterday’s candidate was nice but Santa seems to be sending me a lot of maths and physics geeks this Xmas who are all super-intelligent but short on social skills. If I think about it, I miss the Person who I wasn’t supposed to be in love with, so I don’t think about it. I will meet more people over the next few days.

Gaming. I didn’t really do any yesterday because my date lasted for quite a long time but I dare say I will get started again today. I am sampling everything while I figure out which game I want to make a commitment to for the next few weeks or months.

Happy ongoing Xmas, everybody. I like this period between Xmas and New Year. Everything happens at a slow pace. Once New Year arrives it is time to start thinking about getting back to work. I’m back on the 4th, which isn’t too bad.

Right, I must do a quick burst of housework. See you later.